Women in Construction Week March 5th – 11th

Maja Rosenquist

Provided by Maja Rosenquist, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Mortenson Construction

Much of the construction industry is gearing up to celebrate National Women in Construction week March 5th – March 11th . While it seems like there is growing anecdotal information about women making advancements in the industry, demographics suggest women remain an untapped market for both supervisory and craft construction labor pools. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor show that the percentage of women employed in construction is only 9.3% of the overall construction workforce, while overall women make up 47% of the entire U.S. workforce. This disconnect is an opportunity for our industry. Construction employment levels have flattened slightly since record highs in early 2014, yet attracting and retaining quality talent continues to be a major factor in successfully delivering building projects. Here at Mortenson, we are committed to an inclusion and diversity strategy that supports and advances women across our workforce. I’m sure this is the case for many of our most progressive competitors in the market as well.

We have made real progress over the last 23 years I have been in this industry – but we still have work to do. The vast majority of people with in our industry are supportive and welcoming of women in construction – now we need to improve the pipeline.

Perhaps one statistic could be better leveraged to support an industry recruiting effort to women is that construction is the number one industry closing the pay gap between men and women. On average, a woman working in the construction industry makes 91.3% of what a man in the same position would make. This is still an unacceptable state, but when we look at the same comparison for the overall average for women wages compared to what men make, the statistic falls to 83%.

We find that women are often perceived as having a more collaborative leadership style that focuses on communication and building strong teams, and these skills will be a continued strength for the future of our industry.

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